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Winners of the Buck Shelford Shield

A year of new things and firsts for the Northcote Premier 1 team this season. A new coaching team with Brett Craies, Brett Bedwell and Joe Kurukaanga coming on board after a couple of successful seasons with the U21’s. A restructured management team with Terry Seymour at the helm ably assisted by Gerard “The BOZ” Boesley and Ross Burgess and Karlos Perrett assisting the two gurus at training and on match day. Hamish Craighead and Felicity Stevens provided the physiotherapy support.

It was a real positive to have so many of the incumbent Prem players turn up on day 1 of pre-season and with the coaches calling in the services of Andrew Turner for the pre-season fitness regime it was one of hard work coupled with fun and variety. This was to lay a very useful platform for the season ahead with the Cote fitness shining through in crucial games and getting the boys home.

This year’s competition was split into 2 sections and the team played each team in its section twice and played the other section teams once. At the end of round one, the team had a 4 win and one loss record and this meant we were ranked no 1 in the pool a fantastic result and one where the team travelled to Massey and came away with a 16-10 win.

When we met North Shore in the first game of round two there were 2 trophies up for grabs - The Les Pearce Memorial challenge trophy (last won by Northcote in 2009) and the Buck Shelford trophy for first-round winners (the first time Northcote has won this trophy). After a hard-fought match, the team earned a well-deserved 20-17 win. One where the fitness work early in the season certainly paid off.

This was a first for the club and this should be acknowledged as a large HIGH for the team and the club as a whole.

It was not always plain sailing and the highs of beating both of last year’s finalists were put in perspective when the team dropped games against Silverdale and Glenfield in the second round.

At regular seasons end the team were placed 5th and a game away to ECB to head into the top 4 beckoned. At the end of regulation, the teams were locked at 10 all and 10 minutes of extra time or golden point was played and Ben Searle kicked the team to a 13-10 victory and a place in the semis.

This meant a game against Takapuna in the semi-final, this was a try fest with both teams having a crack but Takapuna took the win and a place in the final with a 39-41 loss for the team. So at seasons end the team were placed in 4th position. The goal was to be in the top 4 and whilst this was achieved a sense of what could have been is still keenly felt amongst the coaches and players.

The coaching staff would like to thank the club board, sponsors, and supporters for their support of the team on 2016 and we are looking forward to an even better 2017. The team has certainly grown and matured as a playing group and whilst we lost a few games we possibly should not have we will not lose the lesson. Special mention must go to Stephen Wolfgramm who became the clubs latest centurion (last played for Northcote in 2007) and also Mitre 10 Cup squad members Bryn Hall, Nic Mayhew, Afa Faatau and Murphy Taramai.

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